From Campus to Pulpit: Jesse Walz’s Journey of Equipping for Full-Time Ministry

For Jesse Walz, an MTS apprenticeship wasn’t an attempt to ‘test the waters’, so to speak, as much as it was an opportunity to start getting equipped for full-time ministry.

Jesse’s two-year apprenticeship, where he split his time between the Christian Union at Deakin University and the local Presbyterian Church, provided him with invaluable training.

“I was already eager to do Christian ministry in some capacity, but I wanted to do MTS because I wanted to get a feel for what it’s like before going on to College and then after College getting out and being on my own, or being in a context where I’m expected to know how to do things,” he explains.

Knowing Christ well – but not his Word

Jesse grew up going to church each week. Despite the separation of his parents while he was in primary school, his faith remained solid.

“I have one of those testimonies where I just always believed it,” Jesse says. “I never had that experience of walking away. I was always convinced that God was there and that Jesus came and died for my sins.”

Even while he was in high school, Jesse says that the possibility of going into full-time ministry was in the back of his mind. It wasn’t until he started studying at university that he experienced regular exegetical preaching.

“I joined the Christian Union and I saw the Word of God regularly being taught passage by passage, book by book. It wasn’t a verse here and a verse there, but it was there in front of me, and the explanation of the passage made sense, and I could see that for myself,” Jesse says.

This exposure to solid Bible teaching resulted in Jesse joining a different church, and it also led to him becoming one of the leaders in CU (the Christian Union).

“I would go to things like National Training Events, and learn how to prepare a talk from the Bible,” Jesse explains.

MTS an important part of preparing for ministry

Over time, it became clear that Jesse was on a trajectory towards full-time Christian ministry.

“I suppose that I was doing it more and more,” Jesse says, “and hearing from people that I respected saying that I could do that. Similar to becoming a Christian—thinking about Christian ministry just felt the natural thing to do. It became the thing that I loved and wanted to do.”

Jesse wanted to gain some practical experience of full time ministry, so the obvious next step was to embark on a two-year apprenticeship. His weeks involved a combination of leading Bible studies, teaching Scripture in schools, evangelism and reading the Bible with people one-on-one—among other things.

“It affirmed that ministry is what I wanted to do,” Jesse says. “And it showed me again that I had gifts for it. It also showed me my weaknesses in a real, powerful way—and that was really helpful too.”

Moving into church ministry

After finishing MTS, Jesse ended up at the Presbyterian Theological College in Melbourne, and from there he’s gone into full-time church ministry.

“Through College I got convicted about the church,” Jesse explains. “As much as I  love CU, and have grown so much through CU—I just had a real conviction that the church is what is eternal and that the church is what Christ died for, so I decided to go into church ministry and be part of the Pressy Church in Victoria.”

Jesse is now the sole pastor of a small church called Eaglehawk Presbyterian in Bendigo, and he’s deeply grateful for the role his apprenticeship played in equipping him.

“I found it hugely valuable to actually prepare me for that lifetime of ministry and to allow me to hit the ground running after I left College,” he says. But if you’re not sure—if you’re just wanting to check it out and see if you are suited for  ministry, two years to work that out is better than spending four years at College and then afterwards working out that’s not where you want to go!”